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Vol 4: Chapter 62

I didn’t know what kind of beasts they were. I wonder if the beasts noticed that the number of early summer birds had decreased and decided to approach the nest, or if it originally is a kind of beast that preys on the eggs of early summer birds.

There were many broken eggs in the “egg storage”. If they were eaten by a predator, that would explain it.

It was almost evening.

Although the number of early summer birds increased slightly, the pack of beasts was still hiding in the woods.

——I think the beasts are waiting for nightfall. Visibility will decrease at night. However, even the early summer birds are not neglecting their vigilance either.

That was Punta’s analysis.

Which means we have to finish our errand before nightfall.

It was finally evening. What I was waiting for appeared. Fog.

Fog created by the atmospheric temperature difference during daytime appears from evening to morning. Therefore, the fog occurring at this point was only faint. However, what I was planning to do would be more unnatural if there was zero fog.

I used【Water Magic】and【Fire Magic】to generate artificial fog, and used【Wind Magic】to send the fog to the “egg storage”.

Although the movement of the early summer birds seemed to be slightly disturbed, the flock soon returned to its original state.

The visibility was getting worse. The beasts shouldn’t have noticed it because it was only near the “egg storage”. In fact, there were no movements from the beasts.

「Punta-san, Asha, are you okay?」

「I-I can do it.」Asha said.

「It could possibly work with this…」

I asked them to wear camouflage over their heads to stay hidden. I collected broken egg shells and stuck them onto my mantle hood. Therefore, from above it would seem the same milky white color as the eggs.

「What about you, Kimidori Gorn-san?」

「It should work, nu.」

Kimidori Gorn-san handed me a magic tool with a stone plate and a magic stone attached. I asked for a weight reduction to “Dead or Alive”, so now, it only tells whether it is “Alive”.

「If you attach it to an egg, you’ll get “Alive” in 2 seconds. If you don’t, it’s a dead egg or the inside is empty, nu.」

「Got it.」

「Be careful, nu. If you attach it for 3 seconds, the circuit will break and it will explode.」

Is this a trap magic tool?!!

「O-Okay.」

…Well, as long as it functions, it should be sufficient.

I put on the egg shell cloak and obtained the magic tool from Kimidori Gorn-san.

「Are you really going alone, Reiji-san?」

「Yes. I’m the only one who can erase my footsteps. And I think I’m the right person who can escape quickly if something goes wrong.」

「…Right.」

Asha was looking worried.

「I created fog around this area too, but there is a chance that the beasts might notice you. If that happens, I will be relying on your magic, Asha.」

「…! Okay!」

I was reluctant to ask Asha to fight if something goes wrong, but I don’t think I should treat her like a child seeing as how she has fought against the likes of early summer birds and the Forest Eater.

「I’m going now.」

I went to the “egg storage” alone.

When I turned around to look behind me, I could no longer see Asha who was supposed to be only 20 meters away.

Is the fog too thick?

If it is too unnatural, the early summer birds are likely to come down. If that happens, I can no longer calmly look for the skill orb. My biggest concern was the skill orb being lost if a turbulent battle ensued.

That said, if the situation poses a threat to my life, I will just abandon the skill orb search and run away.

(It should be right around here.)

I went to the open space where eggs were stored.

A rotten smell assailed my nostrils. However, I don’t have the leisure to confirm what it was.

I proceed in the direction given by Punta-san. If I use【Sprinting】, I can erase my footsteps, but if I accidentally step on a broken shell, it will make a sound.

–Paki.

Crap…….

I laid face-down and held my breath within the fog.

It was quiet and getting dark. You can’t see too much in the dark even without the fog.

「!」

I heard flapping sounds. And then an orange flame ran across the sky.

It looked like an early summer bird came down to check.

However, it was a little far from me. And although I could see the orange flame, I could not see the shape of the early summer bird. The fog was working well.

(Okay, let’s hurry.)

I moved a little bit to the front and found the eggs. I attached the stone plate to the eggs for 2 seconds and peeled it off. Repeatedly.

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「No reaction.」

…Is this it? It’s a bit different from the location Punta-san gave me.

When I attached the stone plate once again for confirmation, it came out as “Alive”.

(Absurd. Was it because it was less than 2 seconds?)

This 3 seconds margin is awful. It will explode if I hold it for too long.

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「Alive.」

「No reaction.」

……I won’t be fooled twice. Reconfirmation.

「No reaction.」

Once again.

「No reaction.」

Is this truly it? I gently reached out and slowly lifted up the egg shell.

「It’s… empty?」

It was a genuine empty egg.

I reached for the next egg while feeling mentally exhausted. I checked one after another. While doing so, I heard the howling of beasts in the distance. The beasts may have begun to move.

(Hurry, hurry!)

I was right. The beasts were waiting for nightfall. There was no way they were aiming for something other than the eggs after coming this far.

While keeping my impatience in check, I counted exactly 2 seconds for every egg. There have been three “no reactions” since then, but when I reconfirmed, they were all “Alive”.

Where is it?

I had already checked the location Punta-san gave me. And now I was starting to look around the surrounding area.

The sun had completely set. Moonlight slightly illuminated the area, but it was quite dark due to the fog.

「No reaction.」

Okay, next egg…–No, wait, “No reaction”?

I was about to reach for the next egg out of habit. When I reconfirmed for the second time and it said “No reaction”–

(No reaction!?)

It was the second “No reaction” in a row. I hurriedly tossed the stone plate and magic stone into the tool bag and reached for the egg.

The egg shell was cracked. You can clearly see that the shell had already been opened before. But you can’t see the crack unless you are really close.

Thinking about it carefully, the height of this egg was about Punta-san’s chest. It’s just the right height.

I couldn’t control my heavily pounding heart as I picked up the egg shell.

As I slowly lifted the cracked top, the surrounding area was flooded with overflowing light of red, blue, yellow, and such.

『RAWRRRRR!!』

At the same time, a 2 meters high, four-legged giant body, jumped at me.